Champagne with that?

A French champagne producer has challenged six very different Montreal restaurants to pair their bubbly with a special dish, available till Nov. 22. Details here.

CNF Communion

Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne with tuna tartare at Communion

Champagne is usually consumed on special occasions, either on its own or with something sweet. But the folks at Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte have organized an event to encourage lovers of sparkling wine to bring it to the dinner table.

The CNF Culinary X’ploration Series aims to demystify the glamorous beverage by showing off its versatility, pairing it with savoury and sweet food, from fish tacos to cheesecake. The team has recruited six very diverse restaurants across the city and tasked them with offering a unique signature dish paired with a glass of Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve for a prix fixe until Nov. 22. Here’s a breakdown of the mouth-watering choices (and a few words about our favourite):




425 McGill

Champagne risotto with leek chiffonade and grilled Madagascar vanilla scallops. $44



1101 Bleury

Oysters with mignonette of green apples and red wine vinegar. $28



135 de la Commune W.

Tartare of albacore tuna served with black cherries, root vegetable chips, gromolata of fried shallots and pine nuts. $30



Firecracker shrimp at le Slang
Firecracker shrimp at le Slang

Le Slang 5669 Monkland

Firecracker shrimp with sweet and spicy sauce layered with arugula, shallots, fried garlic, coriander and black sesame. $35


3581 St-Laurent

The chef’s burger. $28


La Champagnerie
343 St-Paul E.

Smoke meat-inspired beef heart. $35


Personally, I couldn’t resist sampling Vallier’s option. I’m a sucker for risotto and scallops and the fact that this dish brings them together AND throws some champagne into the mix made it a must.

If you’ve never been to this bistro, it’s located just far enough from the touristy part of Old Montreal to make it feel cozy, while its interior, which puts a strong emphasis on dark wood and brick, ensures an authentic French vibe. The wall-to-wall windows are also a nice touch.

As for the food, it was damn good. The champagne was perfectly chilled and refreshing without the excessively strong aftertaste some Bruts deliver. Meanwhile, the rice in the risotto was cooked perfectly and the melt-in-your mouth leeks were something I didn’t expect to like, but ended up loving. Sure, the scallops could have had a crispier sear, but they were so tender and (for lack of a better word) fluffy that the whole thing disappeared from my plate in the blink of an eye. ■


The CNF Culinary X’ploration Series runs until Nov. 22.